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New Alzheimer's Disease Survey Reveals Disparities Between Beliefs and Behavior in Pursuing Diagnosis
Date:9/24/2008

ng and diagnosis," said Dr. Richard Stefanacci, founding executive director, Geriatric Health Program, University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, survey co-chair and member of the ADSDG. "This new survey shows us that close friends and relatives are not encouraging their loved ones to take action, and perhaps that's because they're not confident in their ability to identify Alzheimer's symptoms. The unfortunate result is that many patients may not get diagnosed until the disease is in its later stages."

In support of this theory, another key survey finding was that while the majority of adults age 55 and over recognize that family members of the person with AD are most likely to notice the need for screening, many admit they are not very knowledgeable about the disease, and are confused about its symptoms. Moreover, nearly one-third of those surveyed are not aware that there are AD medications currently available and about 85 percent of those who are aware do not understand how treatment works.

"There are many reasons to seek out an Alzheimer's diagnosis soon after first symptoms are suspected," said Dr. Paul R. Solomon, professor, department of psychology and program in neuroscience, Williams College; clinical director, The Memory Clinic in Bennington, VT; and survey co-chair and member of the ADSDG. "Not only are there treatments that can slow the progression of symptoms, but an early diagnosis also gives the patient and their loved ones more time to adjust to the news and make important decisions together before the disease advances, impacting the patients' ability to interact and function."

These survey results are particularly important given the rise of AD as the baby boomer population ages -- up to 16 million are estimated to have the disease by 2050. The ADSDG encourages everyone with a loved one age 55 and over to visit http://www.seethesigns.com to learn more about the disease, it
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SOURCE Alzheimer?s Disease Screening Discussion Group
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